Sunday, 13 November 2011

003 - Nelya

Stupid, weak-brained, half-made Ashdogs. Foolish things in this hell of buildings and spite - and now Nelya couldn't see, eyes bleached by too much sun and sudden dark. And still not safe. If these places followed any proper, natural rule, going into the dark place would have left her safe and alone, not facing a crowd of angry tunnies.

She'd only wanted to trade. She hadn't thought her attempts would be met with anger and violence. The traders the Godpeople had sent out now and again had never reported such a thing. Maybe she'd done something wrong, crossed some taboo they had.

So now she was crouched, catching her breath, facing angry crowds outside and inside, in a place that smelled like sick sweat and rotted fruit. Everything was off. She couldn't run here, couldn't climb, couldn't even breathe or see like she should; all she could tell was that the air was sticky with anger and hate.

But not directed at her, not like the group when she'd started trading, but at the two men she'd rammed into, both wearing robes. The bigger one wasn't the problem, but the smaller one. Everything about him screamed madness. Perhaps that was the reason for the anger. Madness did tend to enrage those who feared it. That made things worse. If the ones who had decided to chase her didn't give up, this man’s madness and the anger in the bar could get her killed.

Just as she decided to take her chances running back out of the bar and through this nightmare place the madman said something that sparked chaos.

“You harbour Darklanders here? You truly are in need of my salvation.”

A breathless silence and then the crowd surged forward.  A woman was running from the other side, shouting. Nelya darted under the table with animal grace. She would simply wait the fighting out. She couldn't see or even hear much, hidden under the table, but she could hear enough to know the robed madman was still ranting, his foulness cutting over the woman’s more measured tones.

A woman's voice was raised in a strident shout - from what Nelya could hear over the sounds of a brawl, she was asking for calm. And in fact, it was working, the crowd returning to grumbling instead of shouts. No more smashing and crashing. The feet that moments ago had been running and skidding were steadying. She crawled out from her hiding place and stood up. The ranter was now silent. Good.

Nelya ignored the crowd - the grumbling, the deliberate refusal to let her through with any ease - the immediate danger was past, and she had things she needed to do. It seemed like the shouting woman didn't want her dead, which was good enough.

Once she squeezed through the crowd, she waited until the woman, who was stood on top of a table, breathing hard, noticed her. It took a few minutes, but when it happened her face went strange and tight.

“You. Get out of here. Do you understand?”

“I understand.” said Nelya.

“Then why aren't you leaving?”

Nelya simply stared. “I can't. I haven't got what I need. Where can I trade?”

The woman stared at her for some time.

“That's... it?”

Nelya nodded.

“Not a person in this place will trade with you,” she sighed. “But the caravan comes by soon, and you might get lucky.”

A caravan would do, thought Nelya. She didn't need much.

“Just watch yourself.” Finished the woman. “I'd stay out of people's way.”

Nelya had no intention of doing anything else.

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  1. Intriguing. I'm with her, why don't they want to trade?

    I'm getting more interested in the world now, I want to know more about the Darklanders and the Godpeople.

  2. The pacing is deliberate, nearly perfect. I'm left wondering what it is that Nelya needs & why nobody will trade with her.

  3. As to all of those things, you will find out- over the course of the story.

    On my other blog there is a short Nelya story from before she turns up here.

  4. This is quite well written and pulled me right in. Nice. I, too, would like to know what it is about Nelya needs and who the woman, who tells her to go, is. When I get a moment, I will have to come back and read some of the older posts.

    Very nice.

    (This blog is added to the Blogs I Stalk, as well).